Creating Sustainable Peace in Northern Ireland: Inviting Women Combatants to the Table. Sandra McEvoy, Ph.D. Director of Political Science and Global Studies Wheelock College. Photo courtesy of Ian Wood, 2003. Outlining a pathway from violence to the peace table.
Sandra McEvoy, Ph.D. Director of Political Science and Global Studies
Photo courtesy of Ian Wood, 2003
“Analysis of women’s uses of politicized violence in global politics is needed if women’s experiences of war and conflict is to be understood beyond their status as victims” (Sjoberg and Gentry 2007).
Feminist-informed investigations by academic and activist researchers have revealed that many forms of public power and private power are dependent for their operation, legitimation and perpetuation upon…controlling popular notions of femininity and masculinity… if we do not become seriously interested in the conditions and lives of women, we are likely to craft analyses of international power dynamics that are at best incomplete, at worst faulty and unreliable.
1. Rejection of the stereotype that as a group, Protestants live among the comfortable middle-class.
2. Misconception that Loyalist women did not participate in LPOs or have an interest in participating in peace negotiations.
3. Anger and frustration with the British government’s cross-border negotiations with Republicans.
Ballysillan Road, Belfast , 2006. Photo courtesy of Jonathan McCormick
Lincoln Courts, 2004. Londonderry, Photo courtesy of Jonathan McCormick
Respondent:That was the time whenever they tried to force that other agreement, not the Anglo-Irish one...the…the…
Respondent:Yes, because that was the reason why I got involved.
“Gloria.” Interview with author. Belfast June 2006.
As I say, because we felt at risk, you know? We
felt hard done by. You could see your whole
culture and your whole way of life just going down
the drain and becoming a united Ireland. You
know? You could just see that. You can see that
to this very day we are all still very, very frustrated.
You could see that then you can still see it.
“Chloe,” interview with author, Belfast, June 2006
…[people] like me, they didn't understand all the implications. I knew the police force was going to get a good shake up. But I didn't realize how much and that we would lose the RUC all together… After thirty years we had had enough… but we didn't realize the price we would have to pay.
“Chloe” Interview with the author, Belfast 2006
Loyalist Opposition to the GFA
Photo courtesy of Jonathan McCormick, 2006
1. sudden accession to household head with limited resources
2. mobilized as soldiers in patriarchal militaries
3. subjected to increased medical and social vulnerability
4. shoulder increased security risks in disintegrating polities
5. confront increased sexualized violence
6. negotiate family disruptions
7. disadvantaged refugees
8. experienced increased violence in ‘domestic’ space
9. engage war structured sexual work
1. Combatant women are a violent constituency capable of disrupting the success of any negotiated peace.
2. Combatant women have important insights and interests that are useful to negotiations.
3. Inclusion of combatant women interrupts gendered stereotypes of women as necessarily peaceful, lacking agency and interest in peace possibility increasing the likelihood of resolution.